Video in Email: Plan For Success (Part 2)

Posted by John Pollard on

In the first part of this two-part blog series, I provided some discussion points about helping you determine if putting a video in your email marketing program is right for your business. How did those discussions go? Hopefully, it helped stimulate conversation about if or how video can be used to help reach your goals.

Plan for success
If you think using videos in your email marketing program is worth pursuing, the next step is to create a more detailed plan to give yourself the best chance for success. Here are some additional discussion and planning points:

  • Discover how your prospects and customers want to see a video. Talk to them during meetings and conferences or send a survey. Also talk with your employees in customer service, sales, and call centers since they are on the front line talking with prospects and customers every day. Videos they may want to see:
    • A welcome video from the CEO or a celebrity spokesperson
    • Product demonstration and instruction
    • Customer testimonials
    • Customer onboarding and training
    • The video as the product (entertainment, training, instruction)
    • Interviews with industry insiders
    • Market or industry insights
  • Think of cost effective ways to produce a high-quality video. You don’t need to spend half your marketing budget on the perfect video, but quality is important. The video is a direct reflection of your business, so a poor quality video can harm your brand image. You could:
    • Hire a local video contractor
    • Buy video editing software and develop the video yourself
    • Ask your customers to submit videos
  • Research which video methods you want to use within your email.
    • Animated gif: The animated gif isn’t technically video but it does provide a video-like experience. Animated gifs are generally cheaper to produce than a standard video and are a good way to get your feet wet and gain some experience to find out what resonates with your customers.
    • Image link with video play graphic: A popular method for incorporating video in email is displaying a simple image with a visible video play button. When a subscriber clicks on the image, they are taken to your website or another video playback service such as YouTube.
    • Embedded video: Embedded video is viewed directly in the email client. It is only supported by about 60% of email clients, so its effectiveness may be limited. Use a fallback image for email clients that don’t support embedding.
  • Set some realistic goals. If your measure for success is doubling your revenue in a week, then you will probably not meet that goal. Start with a modest increase above a current goal over a month or a quarter depending on your sending frequency.
  • Determine your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs will help you determine if you are reaching your goals. Possible KPIs include:
    • Read rate
    • Click-through rate
    • Conversion rate
    • Average order value
    • Revenue
    • Number of videos viewed
    • Website visits
    • Viral Impact
    • Unsubscribe requests
    • Complaint rate

Develop a testing plan.
Testing the effectiveness of your email video strategy is an important step and should not be ignored. Perform classic A/B split tests not only with the content but with the subject line. Figure out an acceptable timeline for testing as it may take some time to determine what resonates with your customers.

  • Create a feedback mechanism. Gather feedback from your prospects and customers about your email video strategy by sending surveys and through regular day-to-day communication. Using qualitative and quantitative feedback (from your KPIs) helps you determine if using video in your email is a good strategy over the long term.
  • Determine a start date. It’s important to determine a reasonable start date so you have time to get all of the pieces in place and produce your email video experience. Be mindful of busy times of the year like during a major holiday or industry event, as you may not have the resources and focus required to help make your strategy successful.

The demands on the marketing team are great and you must develop new and better ways to reach prospects and service existing customers. If using video in your email marketing program is right for you, make a plan, execute, and track your progress closely to see if you need to change course in order to meet your business goals. Should the results in the beginning not meet your expectations, re-evaluate what you are doing and try again. Over time, if using video in email isn’t helping you meet your goals, then perhaps using video in social networks or online advertising is a better fit for your business.


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About John Pollard

John is a Senior Knowledge Strategist at Return Path. He is dedicated to building and maintaining knowledge and content assets to help marketers maximize the value of their email programs. John believes that sharing knowledge feeds the imagination, fosters collaboration and empowers people to grow and evolve. He has been in the email marketing industry since 2008 and has consulted numerous businesses and ESPs on deliverability and email optimization. Prior to joining Return Path, John worked in the finance industry with roles in business analysis and system administration.

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